5 Health Conditions Poodles Are At-Risk For

Whether your dog is a large, Standard Poodle or a smaller, Miniature Poodle there are medical conditions and health problems that your poodle is at-risk for. Understanding these health concerns and how they impact your pup can help you to better prepare and give your dog the care they need. 

1. Eye Problems and Vision Loss in Poodles

Eye conditions are prevalent among the poodle breed and most of the eye issues are hereditary. Progressive Retinal Atrophy, optic nerve hypoplasia, and cataracts are just a few of the eye problems common among poodles. Read on to learn more about each of these eye conditions and how they can impact your dog:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a serious eye condition that causes blindness in both eyes. Poodles with Progressive Retinal Atrophy will experience gradual loss of vision, luckily PRA is painless. There is no cure for PRA in dogs, however since the vision loss occurs slowly most dogs will adjust easily to their change in eyesight. 

Optic Nerve Hypoplasia

Dogs with optic nerve hypoplasia will experience varying degrees of vision loss. Optic nerve hypoplasia can occur in one or both eyes of a poodle. Dogs whose optic nerve is severely compromised will most likely be diagnosed at a very young age. Milder cases of optic nerve hypoplasia may take longer to be caught. 

Cataracts & Juvenile Cataracts

Cataracts are a common eye condition in poodles. Poodles, along with 30 other dog breeds are at risk genetically for the condition, other common causes of cataracts in dogs include: diabetes, malnourishment, and past eye trauma. When a cataract forms on a dog’s eye there is a distinguishable, cloudiness to the dog’s eye lens. Female poodles are at a higher risk for diabetes which makes them more likely to develop diabetic cataracts

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2. Epilepsy 

Epilepsy and seizures are common among Poodles, in fact Standard Poodles are genetically predisposed to epilepsy. If both poodle parents carry the recessive gene, they can pass the condition on to their puppies. Most poodles will experience a focal or partial seizure which is less traumatic than a seizure that impacts both sides of the brain. Most poodle seizures are fairly short and typically last one to three minutes. After a seizure a poodle may appear disoriented and tired, but will most likely maintain consciousness throughout the seizure. 

3. Poodle Leg and Joint Problems

There is a range of leg and joint conditions that can impact a poodle’s mobility. Signs of a luxating patella or hip dysplasia may be apparent at a young age and worsen as a poodle gets older. Here are some of the most common leg issues in poodles:

Patellar Luxation

Knee problems are prevalent in all poodles, including the Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Standard Poodle. A patellar luxation occurs when a poodle’s kneecap slips out of position before correcting itself. A poodle with a luxating patella will often stretch their back leg behind them while walking to reposition the kneecap. 

Hip Dysplasia

A recent study by the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals found that 11.9% of all poodles experience some level of hip dysplasia. Poodles with hip dysplasia may show the following symptoms: 

  • Swaying side-to-side while walking
  • Less active or willing to exercise
  • Hips become painful to touch
  • A poodle with a hip subluxation may experience clicking or popping of the joint while they walk
  • Show signs of atrophy and muscle loss in the hind legs

Once hip dysplasia is present and detected by your veterinarian the dysplasia is irreversible and will worsen as the dog gets older. There are treatments available to lessen the impact on a poodle’s mobility and lessen hip pain. 

Legg-Calve-Perthes

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is a painful hip condition that impacts young Toy Poodles. Dogs with this condition have a brittle femoral head that can lead to hip fractures. Most dogs with the condition are under nine months old when the hip fracture occurs. 

4. Bloat 

A poodle with bloat will have their stomach expand and extend far beyond its normal capacity. Dogs with a bloated stomach will experience intense stomach pain. Additionally while the stomach is extended the dog’s stomach can twist and rotate to cut off its blood supply and trap gas inside the stomach. This can quickly become life threatening, a dog with a twisted stomach can die within a few hours if medical intervention does not occur quickly. Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus, is the second most common cause of death in large dog breeds. 

5. Addison’s Disease 

In poodles a diagnosis of Addison’s Disease needs to be taken seriously. This is a serious condition and requires immediate medical care. Addison’s Disease is an adrenal condition that limits a poodle’s ability to produce the natural hormones a dog requires to regulate their internal organs. Without these necessary steroids the dog’s body deteriorates which can lead to serious medical issues. 

Since symptoms of Addison’s Disease can be sporadic, the condition can be difficult to diagnose in a Standard Poodle. Luckily, once the disease has been diagnosed, it is treatable.

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